Cyber

It almost seems to be a rule: any time anyone talks about “cyber-“anything, it’s bullshit. I have little idea why. Maybe the word “cyber” appeals to people who read too much bad 1970s science fiction? But whatever the reason, from the heady dotcom bubble era talk of “cyberspace”, to today’s paranoid talk of “cybersecurity”, it’s bunk when looked at in detail. There are serious things to discuss, but somehow serious people use different words: “computer security”, for instance, or “network security”. The “cyber-“people are not all wrong — being 100% wrong is almost as hard as being 100% right — but there’s enough wrong to make them not worth taking seriously.

Of course this feature of the language is just a transitory thing; charlatans, once unmasked, shift to a different cover. After they abandon “cyber” it may even become respectable, eventually. In any case, no offense is intended to people who use the word in the context of debunking the prevailing “cyber”-nonsense, such as Bruce Schneier or Ralph Langner.